For my reviews of the previous films, click the following links:
Somehow, it makes both too much sense, and absolutely zero sense how this franchise has been the best that Sandler has made in recent years. It’s no secret that the man’s films have drastically declined in quality, leading many to believe that he’s washed up, and for fairly good reason. If I’m not mistaken, Sandler even commented that the only reason he made certain movies was an excuse to go on vacation. That’s some pretty shallow (yet brilliant, if you think about it) reasoning.
And yet, these movies are made. While you can read my full reviews, the long and short is that I actually like these movies. They’re funny, colorful, energetic, and surprisingly heartfelt. While I think the drama in the first film was more effective, the second one was a bit funnier, so it’s hard to say which I like more. But I do like both films. They’re not masterpieces, and are certainly not anything on the level of Pixar, or Disney, or even the best of DreamWorks, but they’re enjoyable flicks and I do find myself in the mood to watch them every Halloween, which is usually when the other movies came out. Why this one decided to go for a summer release is anyone’s guess, but so long as it’s good, I don’t think I’ll complain too much.
The story looks like it’s about Drac getting a little frazzled from maintaining the hotel all by himself, so Mavis decides to take him on a vacation of his own, specifically a cruise ship for monsters. He’s against the idea at first, but I guess at some point, he lightens up and even starts a budding romance with the ship’s captain, who unbeknownst to the rest of Drac and company, is the descendant of Van Helsing, and looks like she’s trying to kill Drac without much success.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Adam Sandler (PIXELS ), Selena Gomez (NEIGHBORS 2 , THE BIG SHORT , and upcoming films A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK  and THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE ), Kathryn Hahn (FLOWER , BAD MOMS X-MAS , CAPTAIN FANTASTIC , and TOMORROWLAND ), and Andy Samberg (BRIGSBY BEAR  and STORKS ). In support, we have Steve Buscemi (NANCY , NORMAN , and THE RIDICULOUS 6 ), Mel Brooks (LEAP! ), Keegan-Michael Key (THE DISASTER ARTIST , DON’T THINK TWICE , and upcoming films THE PREDATOR  and THE LION KING ), Fran Drescher (THE NANNY [1993 – 1999], and upcoming films THE CREATRESS  and SAFE SPACES ), and Tara Strong (BATMAN NINJA , MY LITTLE PONY , BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE , and the upcoming TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES ).
Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing, we have Genndy Tartakovsky, known for STAR WARS: CLONE WARS (2003 – 2005) and DEXTER’S LABORATORY (1996 – 2003). Tartakovsky’s partner-in-pen is Michael McCullers, known for THE BOSS BABY (2017). Composing the score is Mark Mothersbaugh, known for THOR: RAGNAROK (2017), PITCH PERFECT 2 (2015), and the upcoming THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART (2019). Finally, the editor is Joyce Arrastia, known for MONSTERS VS. ALIENS (2009) and THE LION KING 1 1/2 (2004).
Overall, while I’m looking forward to this, I remain cautiously optimistic. While the Hotel Transylvania franchise hasn’t let me down yet, anything with Adam Sandler is reason enough to keep your guard up. I think it might be alright and I’ll enjoy it enough, but we’ll see.
This is my honest opinion of: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION
Despite Dracula (Adam Sandler) doing a great job with his hotel, it’s finally caught up with him that he’s lonely and desires to be in a relationship. However, Mavis (Selena Gomez) mistakes his anxiety for stress from being overworked and decides to book a vacation for their family and friends aboard the cruise liner Legacy, which will be voyaging to the lost city of Atlantis. Despite Drac’s reluctance, he agrees to the idea of spending time with his family. This, however, is made slightly complicated when the guests are greeted by the Legacy’s captain, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), and he zings, something he was convinced was only a once in a lifetime experience. However, what he doesn’t know is that Ericka is the great-granddaughter of Drac’s arch nemesis, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), and vows to continue his quest of ridding the world of all monsters.
Where I’m sitting, this might be my favorite of the Hotel Transylvania franchise. This movie is nearly nonstop comedy and cuteness.
For a healthy sum of this movie, all it is is a good time. A load of fun visuals and the cast clearly having the time of their lives. Leave it to the creator of THE POWERPUFF GIRLS to bring out great performances in a harmless kids movie. One of my favorite bits is when Wayne (Steve Buscemi) and Wanda (Molly Shannon), the werewolves, drop off their kids at the day care an there’s that slow realization, after two movies of seeing these characters literally covered in their kids, as miserable and soul-crushed as a pair of parents can be, are completely without children. Their expressions are utterly priceless.
But when the plot gets under way, it’s still an enjoyable fare. Hahn certainly brings a lot of energy to her role as Ericka, constantly trying to kill him, but failing at every turn. I especially love how most of these failures results in Blobby (Genndy Tartakovsky) getting in the way. It’s during a montage where he’s dancing with Drac, but no matter what kind of punishment that Blobby takes, he’s constantly going with the dancing. I couldn’t help but laugh. But one of the things that’s always surprised me with these movies is how well the drama plays out. While the first one continues to have the best drama in this trilogy, this story does still have enough heart. This movie’s drama is arguably the weakest in the series, it’s not absent and does provide adequate breathing room from the comedy in appropriate places.
Bar none, my absolute favorite element of this movie makes a big comeback from the previous film, and that’s the relationship between Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) and Winnie (Sadie Sandler). Oh my God, if you were anything like me and you wanted to see more of that, you get it and it’s about as precious as you can imagine. In the opening scene, Winnie sneaks attack the poor, defenseless Dennis with a peck on the cheek, and that kid’s animated reaction is utter cuteness, slowly backing away from her. But Winnie’s not annoying about it. These two kids are troublemakers, constantly bringing Tinkles (Joe Whyte) everywhere they go even if he’s not supposed to. I have a hard time believing that even the most cynical hearts couldn’t find their relationship endearing.
As per tradition with the Hotel Transylvania movies, the animation is bright, colorful, and fast paced, keeping the energy up at all times. Sure, it might get a little too bouncy once in awhile, but I feel like that was always the intention of the movie, but I can see that being a little too pandering to the kids, but to be fair, a lot of the time, there’s context to bouncing that makes me give it a little leeway. And side-note, it’s nearly impossible to get me to laugh at fart jokes, but this movie managed to do it. And you know how? Because it isn’t the fart that’s funny, it’s the fart that’s happening to these characters. Comedy 101, kiddies. Although I do have to ask, Johnny (Andy Samberg) said that the guacamole was loaded with garlic, so why did Mavis still take a bite? Okay, it’s not deadly and just gives vampires a case of the tooties (thanks, Vanessa, for teaching me this word), but still. Much as I love cats, I’m highly allergic to them. I ain’t gonna own one as a result.
With all the praise that I can give, I do have a few nitpicks and it’s pretty hard to talk about them without getting into spoilers, so… yup.
I think the relationship between Drac and Ericka could have been a little more romantically mutual earlier on to build up Ericka’s uncertainty of just how bad monsters are. And jeez, by the end of the movie, he proposes to her. They’ve only been on one date, and the intention of that date was to poison him with garlic. Barely a date at all. It would have been nice for them to have saved that for the fourth movie that’s inevitably going to happen.
Drac annoyed me a little. Granted, this was only in the beginning of the movie, but Sandler’s voice acting was really starting to grate on me. I don’t know, in the previous films, he was certainly a character with a lot of anxiety issues, but it made a lot of sense, given the context of the stories. In the first movie, a human finally discovers his hotel and threatens the safety of every patron, and it doesn’t help that his daughter zinged with him. In the second movie, Mavis is threatening to take Dennis away as she doesn’t believe he’s safe in the hotel, so he tries desperately to force his transformation into a vampire. But here… he’s lonely and… doesn’t want Mavis to know? Why is that such a big secret? The anxiety in this case didn’t feel justified enough. As a result, Sandler is just making noise to cover for his nervousness, and it sounds like he’s trying too hard.
Overall, this was a really fun outing with the Hotel Transylvania crew. This may be just as funny as the second movie, if not funnier. I had a consistent smile on my face and even if a joke didn’t land, there was enough likability to keep the movie afloat. Pun intended. By no means perfect, but it’s well worth seeing whether you have kids or not. So I say give it a go if you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side. We may have checked out of the hotel, but this monster cruise was worth top dollar.
My honest rating for HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION: 4/5
This week’s reviews:
- SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
- EIGHTH GRADE
- DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT
- A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Next week’s reviews:
- THE EQUALIZER 2
- MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
- UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB
- PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997)